7 Stress-Busters Which Will Improve Your Life

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Everyone is forced to deal with stress at some stage of their life, however, when it starts to affect your overall health and wellbeing, it’s time to try and tackle it as soon as possible, before it becomes a severe concern. During times of anxiety or upset, you may feel vulnerable or troubled, so your body creates the stress response. Luckily, there are ways you can reduce your stress levels before it impacts your life severely. We have compiled 7 useful ways to help keep your stress levels to a minimum, to enable you to live life to the full:

1. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine

Many people turn to the likes of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine to help keep their stress levels down, however, scientific evidence has proved it achieves the opposite effect. When taken in large quantities, alcohol acts as a depressant and smaller quantities turn into a stimulant, which may make you feel more on edge.

Swap your caffeine and alcohol intake with herbal teas or water to keep you hydrated, while preventing debilitating side effects.

2. Increase physical activity

When you’re stressed, your body increases the level of cortisone and adrenaline in its system which tells your brain that it is undergoing a ‘fight or flight’ response. This is your body’s way of alerting you of danger, when in theory, your brain is just deceiving you. One way to combat the issue would be to involve yourself in as much physical activity as possible, to reduce stress hormones and restore your mind and body to a much calmer state.

3. Get more sleep

Lack of sleep is one of the underlying causes of stress. However, can go on to become a vicious cycle when you wake up during the night feeling panicked as distressing thoughts enter your mind and prevent you from getting the good night’s sleep you deserve.

Many people may turn to medication as a last resort when fighting insomnia, but it’s worth trying other solutions before giving in to this stage. One tip to consider would be getting yourself relaxed before trying to sleep. Try and refrain from using electrical devices before your head hits the pillow, as the blue light emitted from the screen prevents your brain from switching off. You could also try taking a warm bath to relax your muscles or reading a book to tire your eyes.

Once you have found the best techniques for relaxation, aim to stick to a bedtime schedule each evening – even on weekends. This way, your body gets used to the predictable routine, which will enable you to fall asleep quicker.

4. Get a dog

Studies have shown that unless you’re someone who isn’t much of an animal fan, owning a dog can have hugely positive impacts on your wellbeing, such as providing emotional support, lowering blood pressure and even reducing stress levels.

Playing with a pet increases the hormone known as oxytocin, which reduces the body’s level of stress. A statement from a study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention read: “Social interaction of humans and dogs may also lead to increased oxytocin levels in both the human and the dog. Interacting with a friendly dog also reduces cortisol levels most likely through oxytocin release, which attenuates physiologic responses to stress.”

This study correlates to the reason why many offices are now introducing dogs into the workplace environment as a way of combatting anxiety disorder and stress.

Although this is a strategy you may be seriously considering to reduce stress levels, owning a dog isn’t as easy as you may expect. You need to be sure you are fully in-the-know about how to take care of your new furry friend in the best way possible, in terms of health and hygiene, training and grooming. 2 Dogs Paws is a great source to browse through, which provides all the information you need to know about canine health and wellbeing.

5. Connect with friends and family

Sometimes when you’re feeling anxious or slightly out of your depth, the best way to regain a sense of normality is to spend time with your closest friends and family. They are the people who know you well and can help you find perspective on your worries.

When meeting up with loved ones, be sure to spend time out of the house and take part in activities that make you happy or will help you relax. Laughing releases endorphins which improves mood and lowers stress levels, which tricks the nervous system into making you feel happier in yourself. Talking things through with your friends will help you find the best solutions to problems, so you don’t feel so alone.

6. Breathe easy

It’s a bit of a cliché phrase to ‘take a deep breath’ when you’re feeling stressed, but this is, in fact, one of the best ways to stay calm. For hundreds of years, Buddhists have believed in the act of deep breathing during meditation as a way of regaining a sense of calm, so this method this will be just as effective when you’re feeling stressed. When mediating, sit in a chair with your feet firmly placed on the floor. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, with your full attention being focused on each breath. This repetitive act will oxygenate the blood and help return your body to a less anxious state.

7. Accept the things you can’t change

Unfortunately, there are times in life when we are faced with difficult situations such as illness or death, which we have absolutely no control over. While these situations cause a significant amount of stress, it’s important to understand that there is nothing that can be done to change these awful circumstances. Although it can be a difficult concept to accept, try and change your thought process to be grateful for the things you do have control over, such as switching jobs, making new friends or taking on a new hobby. This will allow you to gain perspective on your issues and see life with a more positive outlook.

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